Portuguese water company, Serra da Estrela, wanted a creative way to reuse their plastic bottles. The Remix project, a social innovation project, challenged Colectivo da Rainha, to reuse or recycle their PET plastic bottles into something new. The local design firm came up with not one, but two creative reuses: a birdhouse and a transparent vase. Simply by reheating the plastic bottles, the firm came up with two stylish designs that made the inexpensive material more valuable and saved it from ending up in the landfill.
Serra da Estrela has a number of well known environmental concerns and re-foresting campaigns, such as planting a new tree for every sold bottle. The water company wanted to further its efforts and find a way to do something creative with its empty water bottles and Colectivo da Rainha accepted the challenge. The goal was to turn the practically worthless water bottles into something of value. The design firm experimented with the material and learned about its properties to find the best way to make use of the bottles.
The company’s efforts resulted in two equally creative and useful projects. By heating the material, they could remold the plastic into whatever shape they wanted. For the vases, the plastic was molded into a planter shape and creates a unique vessel for plants and flowers. Much like the reforestation campaign, these vases help create new life. The birdhouses retain many elements of the original water bottle including the spout and the handle. The squashed bottle is formed into a house shape and the spout is used to access the interior with the handle used as a perch. Now the bottle serves as a home for nature. Colectivo da Rainha developed and designed these for a social innovation team of 5 unemployed artisans that currently make and sell these objects, which also provides employment sustainability.
Via Design Milk
Images ©Colectivo da Rainha